Announcing the Nomsa Mazwai Award!!

The Nomsa Mazwai Award for the best use of music or other art forms to catalyze positive social change. And the award goes to…

Buchidavinci in Nigeria, and Binti Mwafrika in Kenya (!) for their chain trying to tackle the issue of music and movie piracy, in order to bring in better wages for local artists.



From Nomsa:  “The digital era has made music and movie piracy incredibly easy and fast, this has made it increasingly challenging for musicians in many countries to make a living wage. In some countries this is even leading to an erosion of fundamental cultural entities, and an entire economic base. Finding a way to work with pirates and artists in order to protect cultural expression through the arts is crucial to ensure that all communities are able to maintain their identity and control their own futures. Our world is becoming polarized. We often do not think that there can be a solution that benefits all of us. This game shows us that the way to win, to live in a world of humanity is to connect with each other and find innovative ways to address our collective challenges! Harambe!”

Congratulations Buchidavinci and Binti Mwafrika for your winning chain!

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Announcing the Winners of the Shannon Spanhake Award!!

The Shannon Spanhake Award is going to the best innovation in open government platforms in order to create the most positive change for poor or vulnerable communities. And the award goes to…

crauscher in the US, markburnett in London, and bharath in India! Congratulations to all three of you!!

And the cards that most intrigued Shannon were:

From Shannon: “The “Time Equity bank” chain gets my award because it suggests that citizens should play a role in revitalizing their cities. An example is ImproveSF (, an online platform launched by Mayor Ed Lee that connects citizen problem solvers to civic challenges, citizens volunteer their time to work with City government and are rewarded with a neighborhood asset that they helped to create (along with fun prizes and rewards!). In places or times with constrained resources, citizen participation is paramount and can yield innovative solutions that might not have been previously considered.”

Congratulations crauschermarkburnett, and bharath!! Check your inboxes for a special prize!

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Announcing the Winner of the Tim O’Reilly Award!

The Tim O’Reilly Award is going to the idea that displays the best use of open-source technology to create lasting positive social change. And the winner of this award is…

ubik in the US! Congratulations ubik!!

And the card that most captured Tim’s attention…

From Tim: “Being illiterate will no longer be about the written word, but the ability to code and make the things we need ourselves. A lack of maker/coding literacy is the next phase of the digital divide. Creating spaces around the world to address the growing need for coding skills through hackerspaces is a necessary and exciting step.”

Congrats ubik for your winning idea,  please check your inbox for a special prize!

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Announcing the Tiffany Shlain Award!!!

The Tiffany Shlain Award goes to the best use of using connections and creativity to create real positive social change. And the award goes to…

Pradu in Bucharest! Congratulations Pradu!!

The card the caught Tiffany’s attention was: Visualize and popularize global data so people understand the interconnectedness and can take action.


And here’s why:

“The more we can see how interconnected we are, the more thoughtful we can be about the ripple effects of our actions.” – Tiffany

Congrats Pradu, please check your inbox for a small prize!


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Announcing the Howard Rheingold Award!!!

The Howard Rheingold Award goes to the best strategy for building network literacy in poor or vulnerable communities. And the award goes to…

AdamMaikkula in the US! Congrats AdamMaikkula!!

The card that inspired Howard was: Network literacy by getting all communities online w/ use of donated/trade-in cellphones & computers on social sites. Use Kiva $ 

According to Howard, “This idea has the potential to provoke action by more people, with broad impact. I would donate old phones, computers, if I knew how (and if it was made easy for me). Using Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social sites also seems to me to have a lot of potential for kickstarting a robust movement.”

Congrats AdamMaikkula for your winning idea, please check your inbox for a special prize!


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Announcing the Winner of the Jane McGonigal Award!!

The Jane McGonigal Award goes to the best idea for using game principles to transform the landscape of poverty. And this award goes to…

Goes to player Long View in the US! Congratulations Long View!!

The card that caught Jane’s eye was:  Depending on incarceration location, have inmates play games to solve local problems and gain stakes in outcomes.

From Jane: Research presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science this past week identified “relatedness” as the top psychological need for incarcerated individuals. Relatedness means feeling connected to others and a part of a community. A game that connects inmates to their community by allowing them to engage in local problem-solving — and potentially be viewed as heroes, rather than criminals — could serve as tremendously powerful rehabilitation and reduce suffering in the prisons. I particularly like that this card was played as an “adaptation” to the following idea: “shorten prison sentences based on achievements in academic learning and/or skill development on the part of the imprisoned.” Together, these ideas make for a really powerful solution you could potentially test in small pilot programs. I love the idea of a game that, the better you do, the more time you can shave off your sentence. Particularly in the case of non-violent offenders, as a major contributor to poverty (at least here in California!) is all the money we spend housing inmates at the expense of education and social programs. It seems like an adaptation of a game like EVOKE ( could actually be a viable model here, particularly as EVOKE focused on “unlikely suspects” (young adults in sub-Saharan Africa) saving the rest of the world — London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Rio.

Congratulations again Long View for your winning idea! Please check your inbox for a special prize!

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Announcing the Winner of the Mitch Kapor Award!!

The Mitch Kapor Award went to player who suggested the best idea for leveling the playing field and spanning the digital divide. And this awards goes to…

Johannes_ATM in Singapore!! Congratulations Johannes!!

The card that inspired Mitch was: Organise a global app competition + a foresight brainstorm like this game to bring financial services to the “unbanked” #leap

From Mitch: Bringing financial services to low income families is an important enabler for participation in the global economy and ascending the steps of the ladder to high income.  There are many potential ways this can happen so the idea of harnessing collective brainpower is an appealing one.

Congrats Johannes for your winning idea,  please check your inbox for a special prize!

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Announcement of the Rockefeller Foundation Award!

The Rockefeller Foundation Award went to the player for suggesting the most inspiring approach to innovation in social change for the next century… and this award goes to….

player nasredinhoja in Beijing! Congratulations nasredinhoja!!!

The card that has inspired the Rockefeller Foundation was: Use social media platforms to vote on best practice gov projects aimed at poverty alleviation – targetted communities included in voting

From the Rockefeller Foundation:

This idea demonstrates a forward-looking and innovative perspective by showing how new technologies (social media) can be applied to broaden participation by communities in how critical resources are allocated. As the comments in the card chain indicates, this idea has relevance globally and locally, and it has the potential to be organized around different sectors, engage different constituencies, and address complex problem. This approach would provide real-time feedback and input to decision-makers in a way that would build new evidence, generate new capacities in communities, inform the creation of new rules, and potentially lead to new stories about how different sectors in society connect and interact with one another—highlighting the powerful intersection and relationship among the four catalysts for change. A truly winning idea!

nasredinhoja, please check your inbox for a special prize!

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Catalysts for Change: Still Going Strong

Dear Catalysts,

At long last, we come together again to reflect on the Catalysts for Change game. For me, personally, it has been an experience that has continued to evolve as I move farther away from the actual game play.  Writing about poverty—while trying to come to a general consensus of that that means to us collectively, as I saw many players try to do during game play—and attempting to crowdsource potential solutions and innovations around social change was both challenging and exciting.

At Institute for the Future, we see many potential breakthroughs and challenges as we continue to innovate and experiment in the area of crowdsourcing social change. For us, Catalysts for Change was the beginning of something very powerful. We, all of us who played the game, are beginning to break down the traditional models of experts’ determining what’s best for all of us. We are beginning to use modern technologies to both tap the wisdom of the crowd, and to give voice to previously marginalized communities. Catalysts for Change was one step in this direction.

The Importance & Power of Global Game Guides

In Catalysts for Change we were, perhaps obviously, very motivated to ensure that we didn’t only portray Western notions of well-being and poverty alleviation. We wanted to build a global community to talk about these issues. In order to do so, we worked diligently to find inspired and enthusiastic global game guides. I need to thank each of these amazing guides for their enthusiasm and their voices that came through in the cards and in the blog. They truly made the overall experience of Catalysts for Change a success.

Just before the game launched, I sent out an email to the game guides with some final instructions. This was the first time the global game guides had been connected to one another, and the next morning I woke up to dozens of responses that were simply amazing. Two of my favorites are below…


hi everyone!!!!!

Valeria from Argentina

I can’t believe THIS!!!!!!!! God bless the internet and this amazing chance we are having. It gives me the goosebumps to feel connected to ALL of you

I keep reading your emails and I know this is getting bigger and bigger.


We should ALL get together some day. That would be a dream come true!!!!

Have a great day !


Hi everyone,

3:37 PM Lagos, Nigeria. It’s dark outside as the rain threatens. I am connected to everyone all over the world thanks to the internet.

We are all on different time zones and communicating in real-time.

Before the game starts we have already solved the problem of time travel.



The Importance & Power of Global Players

During the 48 hours of game play, we gathered over 1,600 people from 79 countries! We played over 18,000 ideas. It was an amazing experience to see so many people from all over the world playing together with one unifying goal: to attempt to make the world a better place for everyone. The more time I have spent reading through the cards and the conversations that happened during the game, the more in awe I have become of your contributions. I saw many novel ideas—like augmented empathy—as well as truly heartwarming collaborations. You can join a player-created Facebook group to continue any conversations and project ideas from the game.

Thank you to each of the 1,600 players. Without your engagement and willingness to share and try new forums, we would not be able to test the limits and potential of crowdsourcing. As a community you have been great. We have taken note of the game-play suggestions posted during the game and will incorporate those as best we can for future Foresight Engine games.

From Problems to Solutions in Four Steps

I want to point out one particular conversation that I think best highlights the power of Catalysts for Change. In a short four-card chain, players collaborated to move beyond mentioning the lack of education as a barrier to finding new paths out of poverty to a novel and practical solution.


The Leaderboard & Awards!!!

I would be remiss not to give a big shout-out to the leaderboard as it will stand in perpetuity! Congrats to Gardner and Game_Brains for being on the top of the leaderboard!

Please stay tuned as the celebrity awards will soon be announced. Sorting through 18,000 cards has had its challenges, so we apologize for the delay, but we’re excited to be able to keep this community connected for that much longer!

Game Analysis: You Get the Reins

Many of you have, of course, wondered what we are doing with the cards in the game. Analyzing 18,000+ cards is an interesting prospect, and just as we are not the experts in finding new paths out of poverty around the world, neither are we the experts in analyzing this data. Every one of us will find a different story worth telling from the 18,000+ cards.

In the spirit of crowdsourcing the future, we are releasing the card data file to the public and asking you for your contributions.

Please download them and tell us what bigger stories you find in the game. Further instructions can be found at the above link.

From The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation would like to thank everybody who participated in the game for sharing your creative ideas. You made the game a success by providing energetic and fresh thinking, building on one another’s cards, and raising important questions! As we sift through the 18,000+ cards that were played during the game, the intention is to find ideas and perspectives that can be used to inform funding strategies and that point toward solutions that address real-life problems of poor or vulnerable populations around the world.

Institute for the Future

If you are interested in following Institute for the Future and staying “in the know” for a possible next game, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog.

Signing off now …

Your faithful game master,

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Thank you! And stand by for celebrity awards!

It’s official! More than 1,600 players joined us in the final 48 hours, playing 18,160 cards!

As we wrap our 48-hour global conversation with the world about catalysts for change, we are extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who joined. We’re especially grateful to our global game guides, under the leadership of our game master Tessa Finlev, for making it possible for people all over the world to participate in this most important conversation.

We have a wealth of ideas to tap as we look ahead to the future, and one of the first ways we’ll share them is with a public announcement of the CELEBRITY AWARDS. Watch for the date and time of the announcement.

Of course, there’s much more analysis to do. This blog will continue to be “communications central” for announcements about our plans and for tracking breakout “micro-actions” from this amazing network we’ve created together.

For now, though, rest up from your good work. And THANK YOU for being CATALYSTS FOR CHANGE!

Recent Press: See what the media has been saying about the game!

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